Masterwork Characters: Children of the Fey
Clockwork Golem Workshop
Author: Peter M Ball
Page count: 20 plus OGL
Price: $2.95 at RPG Now
Masterwork Characters: Children of the Fey is a 20-page book that provides a new character race, prestige classes, spells, and magic items, all centered on fey characters. While not outstanding, Children of the Fey is a solid product.
Children of the Fey opens with a brief passage about the presence of fairies in myth and fantasy. It speaks to the basic purpose of making the fey more than something else for player characters to kill and loot.
The Feyborn – A New Race
Following the introduction is the Feyborn. "The feyborn are the product of mortal parents whose blood contains some tinge of fey magic." The feyborn are described in a manner similar to that of other core races, complete with sections on personality, description, relations, alignments, lands, religion, and names. The narrative for the feyborn is okay. I get the impression that the author was shooting for a more flowery language, but didn't quite achieve his goal. Statistically, the feyborn are balanced with the core races. With the few abilities, and a favored class of bard, a feyborn could easily replace gnomes in a campaign setting.
This section contains nine new feats that, despite the section name, are not exclusive to fey characters. These feats include fairy gift, a first-level only feat that allows you to select one ability from a list (although it could use a note indicating if the abilities are extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural). A couple of the feats enhance your ability with enchantment and illusion spells, and one increases your spellcasting potency at night. The feats are not earth shaking, but are more than adequate, especially for certain types of spellcasters.
Next up are three prestige classes – Child of the Woods, Fool King, and Warden of the Woods.
The Child of the Woods is a character of fey blood that feels a particularly strong pull toward his heritage. This pull is so strong that, over time, the character physically transforms, becoming more fey-like. The requirements for this five-level PrC are not particularly difficult, consisting of a couple of skills, race, and the ability to spontaneously cast arcane spells. The character eventually takes a hit to his Strength and Constitution in return for a bonus to Dexterity and Charisma. The Child of the Woods gains a few spell-like abilities, flight, size reduction, and a small amount of damage reduction. The Child of the Woods is definitely a "concept" prestige class, considering the power loss in his spellcasting class a character will suffer while taking the five levels.
The Fool King is the equivalent of a fey jester. The problem with this PrC is the background concept. For non-fey characters, one of the requirements is that the character must have spent a year serving as a fool for a fey lord. Now, regardless of whether a character seeks out this position, or is kidnapped by the fey for it (a not uncommon occurrence), I don't see many players grooving on the idea of taking their characters out of play for a year of game time. While this isn't a necessity (I can see a GM involving the entire party in fey life and politics), it can be a problem if the GM isn't interested in running a heavy fey campaign, or in splitting up the party.
The abilities provided by this PrC are low-powered until the character reaches ninth level, when he gains the ability of the true curse, which allows him to throw an empowered bestow curse, baleful polymorph, power word blind, or song of discord once per day. At 10th level, the character gains the ability to sling a limited wish once per day.
While the concept behind this PrC is interesting, overall, it seems more suited to NPCs than PCs, unless the GM is running a primarily fey campaign.
The Warden of the Woods is a guardian of fey lands, a guerilla fighter trained in woodland combat and blessed with a degree of fey magic. Most of the Warden of the Woods abilities are focused on stealthy woodland movement. The Warden of the Woods might be interesting for those who wish to play wilderness warrior types, but it is the least interesting of the three prestige classes.
I don't suppose you can have a book about fey characters without including some new magic. This section details eight new spells, including cloud judgment (imposes a penalty to Sense Motive checks and saves against charm spells – this is listed as a 0-level spell, but it should be a 1st level spell), heartweave (causes a creature to temporarily fall in love with another creature), puck's curse (a 2nd level spell that temporarily transforms the target's head into that of a donkey – let the Shreck imitations commence), and storm of a thousand petals (generates a concealing cloud of flower petals – my first thought was of Hero).
One of the things that caught my attention is that only two of the spells are available to druids. This seems odd (in my brain, druids and fey are strongly connected). All of these spells should be available to both druids and bards, since both seem to figure prominently in the fey lore as presented in this document. These spells are only mildly interesting, although I have to admit, puck's curse would find a lot of use in the games I run (and sadly, not by me).
Equipment of the Fey
This section contains a new special material (feywood), and nine magic items. Feywood is taken from the trees of dryads, and the specially treated to be as hard as steel, yet lighter and more flexible. The prime use of feywood seems to be the making of medium and heavy armors that are lighter than the steel counterparts are. This section also includes memory-wiping arrows, a spiffy stealth-enhancing cloak, movement-enhancing lantern oil, and a water-walking defending sword. While none of the items are outstanding in their brilliance, they are perfectly functional, especially the fairy cloak – rogues across the land will be interested in this.
Layout and Style
The layout of Children of the Fey is simple and clean. It uses standard two-columns; a small, easy to read font; and clearly delineated headings. There is some wasted space, both around the art, and in the termination of columns.
Children of the Fey has a whopping three pieces of art, all small and unobtrusive. The only problem with the art is that the pieces are significantly smaller than the text columns. This results in large areas of white space around the art. Wrapping the text around the art (reducing the wasted space) would have been a better route.
"All text in this book is designated open game content." There you go. Something that caught my eye is the number of entries in the Section 15. Discounting the SRD, MSRD, and Children of the Fey entry, there are 20 entries in the S15. Considering that, discounting the OGL, this has 20 pages, I'm very curious to know what in Children of the Fey comes from which sources.
Children of the Fey has basic section bookmarks, and is unlocked, allowing for copying and pasting. This is always a plus since you can pull snippets out for use in handouts.
Children of the Fey is designed as a player aid more than anything, so if your players are not interested in the fey, then you can skip this. If you're interested in running a game in which fey play a larger part – perhaps the PCs are all members of the Seelie Court or something, then Masterwork Characters: Children of the Fey will be useful to you. Even if you wish only to include a few fey elements in your games, this will still be useful. The material can easily be incorporated into games that don't feature faeries to a large degree with little effort.